Tuesday, December 30, 2014

New Year's Day Handmade Stamped Greeting Card

Ok, it's time to admit that I didn't get Christmas cards made this year. Yes, the woman who makes card for a living didn't make any for herself. Please forgive me...

Instead, I'm making a few New Year's cards. And I absolutely love this design. Feel free to copy it if you'd like - it's a lot of fun!


I started by printing out a "Happy New Year" on the computer. I didn't have a stamp or any letters that I liked, so I created my own. If you're wondering why it's on white paper when I'm putting it on white card stock, there's a perfectly good explanation.


There are actually two: 1. I needed the extra stability because the card itself wasn't very thick, and 2. I'm going to stamp on it and I need it to be very dramatic. A background color would have detracted from the idea in my head. And 3. I was using up some damaged white card stock. You can see the pucker and tear in the first picture.


Once the phrase is adhered and cut to fit, I start stamping. It's a starburst border stamp that looks absolutely amazing for New Year's. I start in red, leaving a space in between for a second color because ...


... ta da! Two sets of starbursts in contrasting colors. I add the deep blue at different lengths to make an interesting pattern, like hanging lights or beads. I love these starbursts the more I use them.


And to finish it off, I add one sparkling gem to each strand of starbursts. You could use more or less, depending on how much sparkle you want.

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Setting Your Family's Priorities For The New Year

For the next few days, everywhere you look you'll find tips on setting your New Year's resolutions.

Exercise more.
Eat better.
Stress less.
Love everyone.
Declutter everything.

For the first couple of weeks (or days ... or hours ... or minutes), things go pretty well. You're riding high on adrenaline and hope.

And then reality sets in.

Your schedule gets too busy to hit the gym today.
Doughnuts were on sale today.
The calendar just got amazingly crazy.
You don't understand any of the people you work/live/fellowship with.
Stuff has taken over every corner of your life and you just can't catch up.

So then what? Do you just give up until next January 1 and call it a year?

Of course not. Silly girl.

The problem is that we tend to make resolutions and set priorities that are out of whack and completely unattainable.

The solution to this failure and disappointment is found in a familiar Scripture that applies perfectly to the end of December.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Matthew 6:33

The Lord Jesus Christ is explaining how destructive worry and anxiety are and how there's absolutely no reason to concern ourselves with what we're going to eat, wear, clothe ourselves with. Isn't it amazing that the concerns of Jesus' day are the same concerns of our day?

With no hidden meaning, He tells us exactly where our priority should be today, tomorrow and for the new year. When our focus is on God, He'll make sure "all these things," the stuff He wants us to have, will be provided.

Without our help.
Without our worry.
Without our working and slaving and sweating over things that don't matter.

So as you face those resolution-makers this week, pull yourself up to your full height, smile and say that you only have one priority.

The kingdom of God.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Sunday Sketch


 It's fun to play around with sketches that are completely out of your comfort zone. I love layers, but this one was much different than what I'm used to.

Think of this sketch as lefthand-heavy with a secondary image in the bottom righthand corner to balance it out. That's the way I'm thinking about it, just so I can wrap my brain around it. Silly, huh?

And be careful with patterns. Too many busy patterns and it gets a little overwhelming. You'll want nice, clean layers with contrasting patterns and colors, otherwise they'll get all lost and muddled.






That's what I was thinking about with the card I made using this sketch. I started with the tall phrase and then worked my way backwards. I knew what papers I wanted to use, I just had to make sure they weren't so busy that they canceled each other out.

The XO image in the bottom corner is just a piece cut from another sheet of paper. I didn't want anything too bulky or too fancy - it needed to go with the decorations around the phrase.

You can find this card, along with many other paper crafts and wood gifts, in our Etsy shop. Come visit us today at stufffromtrees.etsy.com.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

A Weekend of Serving

One of my Christmas gifts this week was this beautiful scraper. I can't imagine ever actually using it (with the chance of ruining it), so it will be displayed in a corner where I can always see it.

Why would I want to look at a scraper? As pretty as it is, it's because I want to remember the verse that's on it.

Serve the Lord with gladness is part of the 100th Psalm.

Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

These are the words I want to remember during the last weekend of the year. It's not about me. It's not about my schedule, my plan or my wishes. It's about doing whatever it takes to serve the Lord. Whole-heartedly and with complete abandon. In whatever ways He asks.

Make this a weekend of serving. Serving the Lord. Serving your family. Serving your church. What better way to wrap up the old year and prepare to bring in a new year?

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Christmas Card Display Board

I haven't had very much time lately to do anything new for Christmas, but then the Christmas cards started rolling in!

We decorated for Christmas while Danny's parents were here, so everything is out all over the house. It's for that very reason that I realized we didn't have anywhere to put our Christmas cards as they came to the house.

So I put together this adorable Christmas card holder with a piece of leftover wood Danny had in the garage and some clothespins. I absolutely adore the size, and I hope it will hold most of the cards we receive.

I went out to the garage and spray painted the board in white and one side of the clothespins in red. The other side I left plain so the adhesive would stick better - and it really did.

Once they were dry, I brought them inside and hot glued the clothespins to the board. It only took a couple of minutes for them to dry completely and be solid.

I have a couple of Christmas stencils that I love, so I used the holly berries and painted them and the letters in green to stand out on the white.

In all, it took me about an hour and a half to do the entire project. I love the way it turned out, and I already have ideas for how to do another one or two.

That's the problem with fun projects - you want to do more!

Monday, December 15, 2014

All Figured Out

You don't need to have it all figured out to move forward.

Trusting God means moving forward into the unseen, knowing that He has already been there.

For I know the thoughts I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Jeremiah 29:11

God knows. We don't have to.

God has our lives all planned out. We don't have to do the planning ourselves.

God has thoughts of peace for us. We cannot plan our own peace.

God has planned our end, seen our end and knows everything that will happen between now and our end.

We don't have to.

Our finite minds want to know. We want to be prepared. We want to feel secure in knowing what's going to happen tomorrow.

But that's not trust.

Trust means following the Lord even when we don't have it figured out.

Trust means believing that God has our best interests at heart.

Trust means staying as close to Him as possible so we can see His footprints before us.

We don't have to have it all figured out.

There is peace in resting in God because that pressure to understand has vanished.

Don't worry about figuring out your path.

The Lord has gone before you and taken care of it all.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Sunday Sketch

A trusty sketch is like a great friend - they're tried and true and they'll be there for you whenever you need them.

This is one of those sketches in my personal book of card design. It's simple enough to be incredibly powerful on its own, but it's also versatile enough to work in a hundred different ways.

Start with a double-matted background, then choose a contrasting side border. The more mats the merrier, I say ... or something like that.

The phrase or focal point is then overlapped onto the border, creating a balanced package. There's also room on the righthand side if you want to add a small accent like another image or embellishment.

For my card, I used the last scraps of some of my favorite black, white and cream paper. Then I triple-matted the background so there was both white and cream showing.

The border is single matted, as is the yardstick sticker phrase. If I had used a quieter pattern for the background, I probably would have used a small flower accent in the bottom righthand corner, but this card didn't need anything else, since the flower pattern was so busy.

You can find this card, along with many other paper crafts and wood gifts, in our Easy shop. Come visit us at stuffffromtrees.etsy.com.